What can I do to make sure my pool stays healthy?
Chlorine is a very effective sanitizer, and is the standard ingredient almost all pools use to keep their pool free of harmful bacteria, algae and other pathogens.
Fortunately, there are options available that can dramatically reduce your pool’s needs for chlorine, and even enable your pool to create chlorine on its own. From mineralization, to salt cell systems, to chemical chlorine alternatives, Poolwerx has you covered with several different options to suit your needs. Read below to find out more.
What are my options for chlorine alternatives or supplements?
There are a few different options you can take. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of each option below.
Alternatives to trichlor chlorine tabs are alternate ways of delivering chlorine to your pool, and alternatives to chlorine replace the chlorine in your pool entirely. Supplements to chlorine are added in addition to chlorine and reduces the amount of chlorine your pool needs.
1. Alternatives to trichlor chlorine tabs:
- Salt cell systems
2. Supplements to chlorine:
- Mineral systems
- Algae preventatives
3. Alternatives to chlorine:
What are salt cell systems?
If you’ve ever heard the term “saltwater pool,” that pool would be using salt chlorination. Contrary to popular belief, saltwater pools do have chlorine in them. However, now is a better time than ever to make the switch to a salt system because while saltwater pools do use chlorine, they create it on their own.
Instead of adding in store-bought chlorine like “regular” chlorine pools, saltwater pools create their own chlorine through a process called electrolysis. When you add pool grade salt to a chlorine generator, the generator runs salty water through electrically charged plates, which converts it to chlorine. The pool water is still sanitized using chlorine, but the process is different from that of a typical chlorine pool.
Salt chlorination is a more natural and convenient method to delivering chlorine to your pool, compared to harsher liquid and solid chemical chlorine that’s used in traditional pools. It is also a lower-cost alternative to chemical chlorine sanitization in the long run. Salt water pools also produce chlorine at a more steady rate, which leads to a gentler and more natural swimming experience.
Nature2 Fusion Soft
Our highest recommendation for a salt cell system is Nature2 Fusion soft. Nature2 Fusion Soft is an all-in-one system that not only converts your pool to a saltwater pool, but also adds mineral sanitization as well. The exclusive hybrid innovation of this product brings the best sanitizers together in one unit.
In addition to all of the salt chlorination benefits mentioned above, mineralization provides its own additional benefits. Mineral pools add additional minerals to your water, which work together to keep your pool clean and help battle algae, bacteria and other contaminants. Using mineral systems reduces your need for chlorine by about 50%.
You can read more about minerals in the “What is mineralization?” FAQ below.
The Jandy AquaPure® salt-water chlorine sanitizing systems use salt water to deliver high-performance water sanitation with uncompromized performance, reliability and hydraulic efficiency. You can rely on its sturdy design and simple features to create your saltwater oasis.
The Jandy Pro Series new TruClear is an extremely reliable saltwater chlorinator designed for easy installation, use and service. It can also be controlled from a smart phone using the iAquaLink™ app when combined with AquaLink® Automation Systems. Features include durable Jandy Never Lube Valve construction, a compact design for easy integration in most equipment pad configurations, and a transparent window for quick visual inspection of blades. The energy-efficient TruClear also works at extremely low-flow rates making it fully compatible with variable-speed pumps.
What is Optimight and NST?
POOL Breeze® Optimight® and POOLife NST are both options to use as alternatives to the trichlor chlorine tabs. These products contain chlorine to sanitize your pool.
POOL Breeze® Optimight®
Optimight® is a slow-dissolving cal hypo tablet used in the skimmer basket. It contains no cyanuric acid. Step-1 in the POOL Breeze® Optimight® 3 step system. The key to this system is the Optimight® Tablets that provide high percent available chlorine without adding stabilizer. Optimight® Tablets are designed to work in the skimmer or the POOL Breeze® Optimight® Feeder, providing a slow, steady source of sanitizer.
The POOL Breeze® Optimight® Tablet 3 step system provides sanitization, oxidation, and algae prevention without the rapid buildup of cyanuric acid from using stabilized chlorine products and includes POOL Breeze® OptiShock® Shock Treatment & POOL Breeze® Opticide®.
Poolife NST is a non stabilized chlorine tablet that does not contain cyanuric acid. These long lasting tablets are designed to work in your skimmer basket and will continuously sanitize your pool for up to one week. This tablet is compatible with chlorine, salt generators, ozone and mineral systems.
What is Endure?
One chlorine supplement product we highly recommend is Ultima® Endure®. This water conditioner is a multi-tasking pool product that clarifies and conditions pool water.
Endure can help you maintain crystal clear pool water and prevent other pH-related issues, such as erosion, corrosion, and damage to your plaster and grouting. An added bonus of this product is that its special formulation creates softer-feeling water with lots of sparkle that is gentle on swimmers’ hair and eyes.
Though Endure® cannot clear up a cloudy or green pool, once your pool water is already sparkling, Ultima® Endure® will help your chlorine remain effective by killing off any algae blooms before they have a chance to affect the health and clarity of your pool water. It also expedites the filtration of harmful algae and bacteria from your pool water.
Endure® is a great supplement to add to your pool as an extra insurance policy against algae if it becomes hard to get chlorine. In addition, Endure® is compatible with chlorine, bromine, biguanide or salt water chlorine sanitizing systems. Keep reading to find out what all of these are.
What is Mineralization?
Mineral pools use dispensers that deposit additional minerals such as silver and copper into your water, which work together to keep your pool clean and help battle algae, bacteria and other contaminants. Silver has antibacterial properties and has been used to clean water since the days of the Roman empire. Copper is a known algaecide, and is used in so many of the algaecides available for pools and hot tubs, and why some pool manufacturers add it to their pool mineral systems.
Using mineral systems reduces your need for chlorine by about 50%, reducing your chlorine needs and stretching out your supplies further. You will still need chlorine (or bromine if your dispenser is compatible), but your needs will be significantly reduced. Plus, minerals have added benefits: minerals make your pool’s water softer. This makes the water feel more silky and luxurious, leads to less dry and irritated skin and hair, reduces wear on your equipment.
Just like with salt systems, we have several mineral systems with different features and price points.
TruGuard is a sanitizing solution that utilizes the cleaning power of mineral technology to keep water crystal clear and free of harmful bacteria and algae while reducing chlorine usage. Used in conjunction with a chlorine or bromine delivery device, TruGuard is designed to be easily installed directly into the plumbing on the equipment pad and is constructed with the same durable material as our Never Lube® valves for long-lasting reliability.
Nature2 Express is a mineral sanitizing system that reduces the need for large amounts of chlorine for both in-ground and above-ground swimming pools. Nature2’s patented technology uses minerals to kill bacteria and control algae for up to six months. This process of reducing bacteria and algae also decreases the amount of harsh chemicals used to keep your pool water balanced. In fact, using by Nature2 you can reduce the level of chlorine to just 0.5 ppm (1/2 part per million).
Nature2 uses silver and copper, which have been used for thousands of years as a natural way to destroy bacteria, algae, and other harmful contaminants. Nature2 brings the benefits of these safe, proven elemental ingredients to create cleaner, clearer pool water.
As water flows through the Nature2 Express system, mineral ions are slowly and consistently released into the pool water, providing just the right amount of bacteria- and algae-fighting elements to keep your pool perfectly clean and fresh. The Nature2 Express system contains no moving parts and is unaffected by heavy use, hot weather, and water temperature fluctuations. It provides the ultimate in water sanitation for your pool.
Nature2 Fusion Soft
Our highest recommendation for a mineral system is Nature2 Fusion soft. Why? because it provides the combination of minerals and salt chlorination, giving you the benefits of both. Nature2 Fusion Soft is an all-in-one system that not only converts your pool to a saltwater pool, but also adds mineral sanitization as well. With all the benefits of Nature2 Express plus the ability to create its own chlorine, the exclusive hybrid innovation of this product brings the best sanitizers together in one unit.
What are Ozonators?
Ozone generators, also referred to as ozone machines, are ozone-generating devices that intentionally produce ozone gas and inserts it into your pool water. It is a pH neutral option and an effective sanitizer that can be used as a supplement to the chlorine, bromine or baquacil in your pool.
Ozone is a blue-colored gas that’s made up of three oxygen atoms. Ozone is useful in swimming pools because it is a good oxidizer, effectively killing and inactivates bacteria, parasites, and viruses without any chemical assistance. Rather than adding ozone to your pool the same way you add other pool chemicals, ozonators sanitize your pool water within their circulation system.
Ozonators work in two different ways:
- Ultraviolet radiation: This process of ozone generation is similar to how the sun’s ultraviolet radiation splits oxygen molecules into free oxygen atoms. Those atoms then combine with ambient oxygen and create ozone, which sanitizes the water.
- Silent corona discharge: These machines use electric discharge to produce ozone by splitting the normal oxygen molecules in the air into single atoms. These atoms then attach to other oxygen (O2) molecules in the air to form ozone (O3).
While both of these systems can be effective, they function best in dry climates, so if you live in a more humid area, you’ll see a reduction in the ozonator’s performance, meaning you may have to fall back on some chlorine every now and then. Ozone also does not maintain a residual disinfectant, so another chemical, like chlorine or bromine, should still be added to the pool to ensure that the water is completely sanitized and safe for swimming.
Ozonators can be a bit more tricky to install than other alternatives such as salt or mineral systems. Ozonators are installed in the pool’s circulation system downstream from the operating equipment. As the water passes through the ozonator, it gets sanitized by the ozone before returning to the pool. Any time you install and use an ozonator, it needs to have access to fresh air, and it can’t be placed underground.
Because ozone is not safe for humans, all or most of the ozone should be used up before the treated water is returned to the pool where it will come into contact with swimmers. Your local or state health regulations may require you to install an ozone detection system as an added precaution, so you should check your local regulations before installing.
Both types of ozone generators do the same thing in terms of scrambling the oxygen atoms to produce ozone. However, they differ in a few key ways. First, corona discharge generators produce a higher concentration and quality of ozone than UV generators. CD generators are more expensive to buy and install in the beginning, but they produce ozone at a cheaper rate.
Adding chlorine, bromine or Baquacil is still required to fully sanitize your pool even when you have an ozonator, according to CDC requirements. However, ozone can be an option to reduce the amount of chlorine needed.
What are algae preventatives?
A consequence of not having enough chlorine in your pool is the growth of algae and other contaminants. By adding an algae preventative ingredient, you will be able to reduce the growth of algae in your pool, making it a great chlorine supplement. Poolwerx has a great selection of algae preventatives to help keep your pool healthy. Stop by or give us a call today!
Can I replace the Chlorine in my pool with a different chemical?
Yes, there are alternative chemicals to chlorine available, bromine and Baquacil® (PHMB). They each have their own challenges, however, and we don’t really recommend them. Read below to learn more.
Pool bromine is a sanitizer, oxidizer, and algicide that is used in swimming pools and spas as an alternative to chlorine. For pools, Bromine is mostly sold as solid tablets, granules, and sticks with a few liquid options. Bromine and Chlorine are both part of the same family of chemicals known as halogens and share a lot of similarities, but also some differences.
Bromine eradicates contaminants by ionizing them, or forcing them apart at the molecular level. Bromine lasts a little longer than chlorine does, but it also works slower than chlorine does, taking longer to destroy contaminants. Because of this, a common practice is to use both chlorine and bromine to sanitize a pool.
Bromine performs better at higher temperatures and pH than chlorine, making it a popular choice for hot tubs and spas. However, bromine is sensitive to sunlight and less effective when exposed to UV rays. Bromine is also not as good as chlorine at oxidation, or breaking down contaminants in water. Bromine is hard to acquire, and therefore expensive. Another thing to note is that once you change your pool to a bromine pool, it will be difficult to convert it back to a chlorine pool.
Baquacil®/polyhexamethylene biguanide (PHMB)
Baquacil® is the brand name of a preservative-free polyhexamethylene biguanide, or PHMB. Baquacil is a chlorine-free liquid sanitizer that provides safe, consistent control of bacteria and algae. Originally developed as a surgical disinfectant, it is a non bleach/halogenic product whose main oxidizing component is hydrogen peroxide. It has a long shelf life, is highly stable in water and lasts longer than chlorine without any of chlorine’s unpleasant side effects.
Baquacil® completely replaces chlorine, but it doesn’t oxidize the way chlorine does. This means it won’t kill bacteria, algae, and other contaminants that are vulnerable only to oxidation. You must use an oxidizer with PHMB, and ideally a separate algaecide as well. If you use Baquacil® instead of chlorine, you must use Baquacil® brand oxidizers and algaecides. They’re created to work specifically with the sanitizer. If you do not use these additional products, your pool will likely become cloudy and contaminants can build up. You can, however, use other brand of chemicals to balance your pool’s pH, alkalinity, and calcium.
When balanced properly, Baquacil® is an effective chlorine alternative, but is more expensive than chlorine and much more difficult to maintain. In the long run, converting to a salt system will be easier on your wallet.
Not sure which option to pick?
Stop by your local Poolwerx today! Our knowledgeable retail associates are happy to help discuss the options for you and help you pick the best products for your needs.